Errors By Automation

When one Hawaii station has on air are screw ups, many times you can blame the computer.

Viewers of KITV 4 in Hawaiihave noticed some glitches: a reporter’s microphone that is turned off even though the reporter is speaking to the camera; a mic that is still hot when it should have been muted; a camera cutaway to a video clip for another story, not the one being broadcast live; an anchor momentarily confused by what’s scrolling on a teleprompter.

Since SJL Broadcast Management bought the station from Hearst earlier this year, they have been getting rid of people and replacing them with automation.

SJL is the same company that bought KHON, the Fox affiliate, in 2006 and implemented a plan calling for cost-cutting and automation.

SJL’s upheaval at KHON resulted in massive job cuts and resignations, including the walking out of General Manager Rick Blangiardi.

Others stayed at KHON, including longtime anchor Joe Moore. But he made clear his views on his new bosses.

“It’s clear to almost everyone at the station that our new owners are destroying KHON,” Moore told the local paper. “Their barbaric downsizing plan will severely cripple our ability to present relevant news and public service programming.”

Now there’s alarm that what happened to KHON is happening to KITV. Indeed, a year after SJL bought KHON, SJL sold — or flipped, in the parlance — the station to another California media company. The station is now owned by Virginia-based Media General.

SJL has also hired the same general manager who replaced Blangiardi at KHON and oversaw the cost-cutting and tech upgrade — Joe McNamara — to replace KITV General Manager Andrew Jackson, who left in August.

It’s not clear yet how many people have already left KITV, or will be leaving. But McNamara dismissed as rumor that the numbers would be substantial and explained that some of the positions are part-time jobs.

He estimated that, of the 100 or so employees at the station, “We’re taking about less than 10 percent, because a lot chose to leave on their own, some had other opportunities and for others contracts were running out.”

McNamara said the station will not cut back on its sales staff.

Of course they won't. But, good luck trying to sell the crap you guys are calling news.

H/T Civil Beat